The Kuwaiti government decided that it is illegal for men to sell women's clothing. Any stores that violate the new laws will be punished. This will open up more employment for women and will segregate the sexes further.
Does this mean that men can't buy clothes from women's stores? Can women buy clothes from men's stores? I'm sure the vigilant government will guide its people regarding all these crucial details.
I know some women like this ruling because it will make it more comfortable for them to shop and will open up employment for women. But the philospophical basis for this ruling is conservative: the aim is to "protect" women who are seen as minors. And this I don't like.Instead of legislation to "pretect" women (and infantalize them in the process), let's have legislation that gives them equal rights.
Growing up in Ramallah, I always bought my clothes from male shopkeepers because there were hardly any women in that field then (now there are more). In my experience, all shopkeepers were polite and professional but of course some were better than others at what they did. Perhaps the absence of negative experiences has to do with my Mom who had her own radar and would blacklist any merchant who didn't "look" right.
I think the domination of men in this line of work had more to do with class than gender. Shopkeeping, an urban job, was exclusively a male profession. Things were different with peasants. Farming women were the ones who went to market to sell their produce and their job was very public: they will sit in the middle of the Hesba (the vegtable market) or at the sidewalks in Jerusalem or Ramallah calling for their produce.Peasntn men hardly did that. Women were also the ones who went around selling milk and yogurt drink from house to house. I have fond memories of Salma, the woman who came around this time of the year with her "laban". God, that was tasty!!